Our friends over at Yesware just published a short e-book with 9 data backed email subject line tips. They looked at open and response rates from 115 million emails. What they found are some new email subject line tips, including ones that go against what most of us accept as “best practices”.
Open and reply rates for sales emails
Yesware is primarily used to send sales emails. These are often sent as one-off messages and can be more personal than mass newsletters.
The average open and reply rates tracked by Yesware reflect this. The average open rate for these types of emails was 51.9%. The average reply rate was 29.8%. Both of these are good benchmarks for what to expect when sending sales emails. This is a mix of cold emails and back and forth emails after a relationship starts.
Top email subject line tips
Download the report to get all the tips, but here are a few things I’ll be trying in future emails.
Shorten those subject lines
There is a strong correlation between shorter subject lines and higher open rates. Emails with a 50% or higher open rate had 5 or fewer words in their subject lines.
Always use Re: when actually replying to an email
If you are replying to an email, don’t remove the Re: from the subject line (or change the subject line at all). Yesware’s study shows that emails with a Re: are opened 57.9% of the time.
Does this mean that you should just slap Re: in front of all your emails? Definitely not! Save this tip for actual conversations vs. marketing emails.
One exception might be an automated reply. If you have an email automation set up that sends a reply, go ahead and try using the Re: subject line there.
Think of a number (and then use it in your subject line)
According to the report, adding a number to your subject line can give you a slight increase in open rates. This may be because people like facts, and they like them fast.
Numbers are easy to understand. If you have a relevant number to share in your email, try putting it in your subject line.
It’s not personal, it’s just overused
Email marketers may have ruined the personalized greeting in the email subject line. According to the data using words like “hi” or “hey” and the person’s first name doesn’t give a lift to open rates.
In fact, subject lines with greetings only had a 48.1% open rate, compared to the average of 51.9%.
It’s still a good idea to personalize your message. Yet, it seems that adding a name to the subject line is one marketing trick that people are on to.
Test these on your own email subject lines
As with any advice, even data backed advice, you’ll need to test these ideas in your own emails. If these tips tell you anything, it should be that it’s okay to challenge conventional wisdom. Email subject lines are easy to test. Use these tips as a starting point.
If you are using Yesware and Batchbook, be sure to use Yesware’s BCC to CRM feature to record your emails in Batchbook.